If people thought “Kick-Ass” was an amoral and irresponsible movie, wait ‘til they get a load of “The Losers,” another comic-book adaptation that cracks jokes while it racks up a huge body count.
At least “Kick-Ass” had the decency to carry an R rating. “The Losers,” which is equally violent, squeaks by with an incredible PG-13.
“The Losers” gets mileage out of the old one about a gang of super-skilled U.S. military commandos who go rogue when their higher-ups sell them out. Sure, they could drop out of sight after a disastrous mission in Bolivia — but why not go after the government jerk who set them up?
Aided by a mystery woman (busy Zoe Saldana, from “Avatar” and “Death at a Funeral”) with deep pockets, the Losers hatch a plan that — in one kicky sequence — involves stealing an armored car with a helicopter, a handful of bombs and one really, really strong magnet.
Some of the action sequences are crazy-fun, and the early reels generate earthy repartee among the jaded heroes, five guys who have macho one-liners and reckless bravado in abundance.
They are grizzled leader Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, late of “Watchmen”), scar-faced Roque (Idris Elba), kooky Jensen (Chris Evans, in expert form), silent-but-deadly Cougar (Oscar Jaenada), and family man Pooch (Columbus Short, who’s also in “Death at a Funeral”).
Playing the kind of pompous, breezily cruel villain perfected by Gary Oldman long ago, Jason Patric exercises his inner weasel, to reasonably amusing effect. At some point — maybe it’s about the time he shoots his female assistant at point-blank range for not correctly holding his parasol to shade him — you may find yourself tiring of this kind of bad guy.
Director Sylvain White pulls off this material better than he managed the embarrassing “Stomp the Yard,” but the nonsensical shifts in tone will eventually drive you nuts. Hey, let’s dangle a few plot points to get you to care slightly about the characters, but then let’s make it all a joke again.
Nope, sorry, but it won’t work. When it’s in action mode, “The Losers” works up some pulp appeal … but then you have to sit through all the other stuff.